YAMA: Social Behavior
This limb focuses on how you treat others and the world around you. It encompasses general human mores, like not causing harm, in thought or deed, to any creature, incorporating an honest and truthful way of life by not cheating or stealing, and freeing oneself from greed and material wants.
NIYAMA: Inner Discipline and Responsibility
This limb focuses on how we treat ourselves. By practicing the principles of Niyama, you can achieve purity of body and mind. Niyama helps you develop contentment by teaching satisfaction with what one has, along with physical discipline and mental control. Together, these practices help you achieve a greater awakening.
ASANA: Discipline of the Body
Asana provides rules and postures to help keep you disease-free and preserve your vital energy. Correct postures are a physical aid to meditation, for they control the limbs and nervous system, preventing them from producing disturbances.
PRANAYAMA: Control of Breath
Pranayama is the limb which is beneficial to good health, steadying the body and focusing the mind.
PRATYAHARA: The Withdrawal of Senses from Their External Objects
Pratyahara teaches mastery over external influences.
DHARANA: The Concentration of the Mind upon a Physical Object
Dharana teaches you to focus on a single object, such as a candle flame or a lamp, allowing your mind to gently push away superfluous thoughts.
DHYANA: Uninterrupted Meditation without an Object
Dhyana teaches you how concentration leads to a state of meditation. The goal of meditation isn’t unconsciousness or nothingness, but rather a heightened awareness and oneness with the universe.
SAMADHI: The Ultimate Goal is Absolute Bliss
Samadhi is pure contemplation and a super-consciousness during which you and the universe are one. It is said that those who have achieved samadhi are enlightened.